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City Councilman suit sheds light on workplace sexual harassment

New York City Councilman Andy King may soon be facing a lawsuit following the firing of a staffer earlier this year. The staffer, who worked at the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus, worked under King, who was chairman of the group. King is well-known at City Hall for his colorful and outlandish outfits.

She alleges that King came on to her and fired her after she refused his advances. Fellow staffers say they were upset after she was let go, as she was well-regarded in the workplace.

All workers, whether in a factory, office or elsewhere, are entitled to work in an environment free of harassment and discrimination. This includes not only facing sexual advances or comments from co-workers or superiors, but also a loss or lowering of wages, a demotion or lack of promotion, or the firing from a job due failing to respond to sexual advances or comments, as is the claim in the upcoming Andy King suit.

Since many instances of sexual harassment occur from employees in a higher position, it is important to understand that employee's rights are protected, and a worker who faces harassment should immediately file a claim with his or her employer. If no procedures are in order with the employer, or the employee does not feel satisfied with the resolution, he or she may file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The commission may issue a right to sue, allowing the victim to bring forth a civil lawsuit. The lawsuit may help recover damages such as a job reinstatement, back pay, fringe benefit losses, emotional distress and attorney fees and court costs.

Source: New York Daily News, "City Councilman faces sexual harassment suit over fired staffer: sources", Erin Durkin, Apr. 28, 2015

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